Budget problems at public colleges and universities have been published in the press for the past year and a half. Approximately a year or so ago, I decided to collect articles about the situation and organized them on this blog by state under the title Higher Ed’s Economic Challenges. As the recession continues to impact the value of residential and commercial real estate (or was it the real estate that impacted the recession?),
I recently had the chance to read a research report titled “With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them,” published by Public Agenda with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The authors of the report surveyed over 600 young adults between the ages of 22 and 30. The purpose of the survey was to compare the answers of students who dropped out of college to the answers of students who graduated within the three year (for community colleges) or six year (for four-year colleges) standards as measured by the U.S.
It is hard to have a day go by where there is not at least one article in the major media about the high cost of college. With the recession and its impact on state and local budgets, tuitions are being increased at many public colleges and universities and some institutions are reducing the number of students attending in order to cut costs for next year.
I have had a few weeks to think about President Obama’s Stimulus Act and its impact on higher education. During the same period of time, I have read the daily headlines covering higher education in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, and New Realities in Higher Education. The news is not good.
Last night, President Obama delivered an address to the nation. He focused on the state of the economy and his administration’s plans for the economic future of our country focusing on energy, healthcare, and education. I thought I would examine his plans for education as it relates to higher education and compare them to the public policy initiatives and thought pieces that have previously been published.
As part of my ongoing review of some of the literature and topics around the affordability of a college education, I happened to find a publication from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education entitled The Iron Triangle: College Presidents Talk about Costs, Access, and Quality. Prepared by John Immerwahr, Jean Johnson, and Paul Gasbarra, the report is about a unique piece of research in which 30 college and university presidents were interviewed for their perspectives on the three major issues of cost, access, and quality of higher education (and, the corners forming the Iron Triangle).
This time of the year offers many opportunities for personal reflection. For those of us raised in the Judeo-Christian faiths, the celebration of the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the birth of Jesus are events that mark centuries of traditions and religious faith. For people of these and other faiths, the end of the year and the beginning of the New Year on January 1 are times to celebrate the passage of time and to mark new opportunities in the year ahead.
Bob Zemsky, co-author of Remaking the American University: Market-Smart and Mission-Centered led a session for Presidents and Trustees of colleges and universities at the 2007 Higher Learning Commission annual meeting in Chicago. At the time, he was a member and participant on the Spellings Commission and he provided the audience with an update on the Commission’s findings from his perspective.
Paul Jansen and Debby Bielak, consultants at McKinsey & Company, published an article in the June 2008 Business Officer publication of NACUBO which summarizes the five key trends in higher education. In conducting their research, McKinsey engaged with institutions affiliated with the Forum for the Future of Higher Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The authors maintain that the five trends have the potential to be disrupters that could affect the status quo at many institutions.